The total solar eclipse of 2024 is anticipated to be one of the most significant astronomical events of the decade. It is expected to occur on April 8, 2024, and will be visible across a large swath of North America.

Since events like this don’t happen often, students everywhere will be learning about the solar eclipse, which means that many elementary school teachers will be looking for a solar eclipse activity for the classroom. So here you go!

Educational materials displaying different types of solar eclipses with foldable paper models, perfect for elementary students.

The path of totality, where the sun will be completely obscured by the moon, will stretch from Mexico up through the United States, passing through states such as Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Maine. Major cities within the path of totality include Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Montreal.

Save The Post Kids Activities Form

Save this for later?

We can instantly send this to your inbox. Or, send to a friend.

Outside the path of totality, observers will still be able to witness a partial solar eclipse, where only a portion of the sun is covered by the moon.

Total solar eclipses are rare and highly anticipated events because they offer a unique opportunity to witness the sun’s corona, the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere, which is normally not visible due to the sun’s brightness.

Many people plan special trips or events to witness total solar eclipses, making them significant cultural and scientific phenomena. Additionally, scientists often use solar eclipses as opportunities to study the sun’s corona and gather valuable data about solar activity.

Solar Eclipse Activity

Here is the free PDF solar eclipse activity. It is designed for elementary school students, but a student’s abilities may vary of course.

If you are having issues downloading and printing this free PDF solar eclipse activity, scroll down to the bottom of this article to find instructions.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking some or all of the sun’s light from reaching Earth. This alignment can result in three different types of solar eclipses: total, partial, and annular.

  1. Total Solar Eclipse: During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun, casting a shadow on Earth. This creates a brief period of darkness in the area covered by the moon’s shadow, known as the path of totality. Observers within this path can see the sun’s corona, the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere, as it becomes visible during totality.
  2. Partial Solar Eclipse: In a partial solar eclipse, the moon only partially covers the sun, resulting in a portion of the sun’s disk still being visible from Earth. This occurs when the alignment between the sun, moon, and Earth is not perfectly straight, causing the moon to only partially obscure the sun’s light.
  3. Annular Solar Eclipse: An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is too far away from Earth to completely cover the sun’s disk. As a result, a ring of sunlight, known as the “ring of fire,” is visible around the edges of the moon during maximum eclipse. This occurs because the moon’s apparent size is smaller than that of the sun, leaving a ring-like shape of sunlight visible around the moon’s silhouette.

Solar eclipses are awe-inspiring celestial events that captivate observers around the world. They provide valuable opportunities for scientific research and observation of the sun’s corona, as well as cultural significance in many societies throughout history. However, it’s important to observe solar eclipses safely, using proper eye protection, as looking directly at the sun can cause serious eye damage.

How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse

Safely viewing a solar eclipse is crucial to protect your eyes from potential damage caused by the intense sunlight. Here are some safe methods for observing a solar eclipse:

  1. Solar Eclipse Glasses: Use certified solar eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. These glasses are specially designed to block harmful solar radiation and allow you to view the eclipse directly. Ensure that the glasses are not scratched or damaged, as this can compromise their effectiveness.
  2. Solar Filters for Telescopes and Binoculars: If you’re using telescopes or binoculars to observe the eclipse, attach a solar filter to the front of the optical device. These filters block out most of the sunlight, allowing you to safely view the eclipse through the eyepiece. Never look at the sun through an unfiltered telescope or binoculars, as it can cause serious eye damage.
  3. Pinhole Projection: Create a pinhole projector by poking a small hole in a piece of cardboard or paper. Hold the cardboard or paper up to the sun and let the sunlight pass through the pinhole onto a surface, such as another piece of paper or the ground. This will project an image of the sun’s crescent shape onto the surface, allowing you to safely view the eclipse indirectly.
  4. Projection through a Telescope or Binoculars: Instead of looking through the eyepiece directly, project the image of the sun onto a piece of white cardboard or paper placed behind the eyepiece. This method allows multiple people to view the eclipse simultaneously without looking directly at the sun.
  5. Solar Viewing Glasses with Solar Filters: Some specialty solar viewing glasses come equipped with solar filters built into the lenses. These glasses are specifically designed for safely viewing solar events and are an excellent option for observing a solar eclipse.

Remember that sunglasses, smoked glass, or homemade filters are not safe for viewing a solar eclipse. Only use certified solar viewing glasses or other approved methods to protect your eyes during the eclipse. Additionally, do not use cameras, smartphones, or other optical devices to view the sun directly without appropriate solar filters, as this can also cause damage to the equipment and potentially harm your eyes.

How to Download and Print PDFs from this site

If you are having trouble downloading and printing the fun stuff on this site, please watch the short video below. Or you can:

  • Look for the little download arrow in the upper right-hand corner and click it.
  • If the printable is not appearing (you see white space), try refreshing the page and/or clearing your browser cache. Otherwise, your browser or your ad blocker may be preventing it from showing.

Free IEP Binder
Featured Image